HC Deb 19 May 1952 vol 501 cc27-8
40. Mr. Erroll

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the action he proposes to take as a result of representations made to him to increase the pensions of railway superannuitants.

74. Captain Ryder

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has now considered the position of railway super-annuitants arising out of seriously decreased value of their pensions; and whether he will make a statement.

The Minister of Transport(Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)

I am sorry that I cannot as yet add to the reply my hon. Friend gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Merton and Morden (Captain Ryder) on 31st March last.

Mr. Erroll

Can the Minister say with what energy he is pursuing a solution?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

With the usual energy that I hope I always display.

Captain Ryder

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this is a very pressing matter; that the value of these pensions has gone down very considerably, and that great hardship is being felt?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I fully realise that the best contribution that anybody can make to these and other pensions is to bring down the cost of living.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting a course which we all welcome but which offers no immediate solution to this problem. Will he tell us how soon he hopes to be able to give a decision on the matter, which his predecessor said he was considering the last time he replied to a similar Question?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I hope it will be possible in the not too far distant future to make an announcement upon the subject, but very many difficulties arise. There is, for instance, the difficulty of linking railway pension rates to National Insurance rates, and these are all complicated matters. I repeat that the best help for these pensioners is to do what the Government are now doing, to lay the economic foundations upon which our recovery depends.

Mr. Bottomley

Is it the intention of the Minister of Transport to authorise the Commission to reduce fares as one way of reducing the cost of living?

Mr. Manuel

Can the Minister say whether the decision he makes will apply to the superannuation payments of all retired railwaymen?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I will look into that.